Congratulations! This is the first time you’ve been in a leadership position.
Maybe you expected it or maybe it happened because of the growing company you work for suddenly needed a manager. Either way, you feel that your career has moved upwards and you are being sprinkled with roses and dollar bills. Please do enjoy the moment for that day.
Exactly until you face reality and the promotion turns into a panic: how the hell do you manage a team? We have outlined the most effective ideas, including how to get the most out of your team and how important your feedback is. Read on and let all your meetings be a useful time to spend.
1. If “it’s okay,” then somebody’s lying.
If an employee says “everything’s fine”, too many times in a row, it’s time to dig deeper. This may mean that he is too shy or afraid to admit that he is not doing well. You cannot help if you don’t figure it out, so gaining the team’s trust is your top priority. As a manager, you must provide opportunities for transparency, criticism, compassion. And when someone says that everything is not okay, it demonstrates that the trust between you is strengthened. Of course, the situation may not be very good, but the relationship must be excellent, and this is the most important thing.
2. Feed your strengths.
Ambitious people often want to know what they cannot handle to fix it. It’s not very useful to point out flaws, so you have to practice pointing out what you hired people for their strengths.
When your employees go to the “need to improve” section, skip the “strengths” section, correct it. Highlight the specific benefits they bring.
It is good to strategize around your strengths and weaknesses. Employees should understand that the value they bring is the good that you see in them and what you expect to grow in.
A higher-level manager can do this not only with individual employees but also with whole teams.
3. Identify areas of responsibility.
Make sure everyone knows who is responsible for what. When responsibilities are unclear, something is bound to go unheeded. Individual members of the team who are not sure what they have screwed up will take a defensive position, and then you will realize that under your leadership, a toxic environment has blossomed. No matter how well you brainstorm, every meeting must end with a clearly defined commitment to the next steps. A letter with these tasks is also a good idea.
4. Give up a false compliment.
Being nice is great, but a critical review hidden between two compliments is not as good as you think. The best way to express comments is to be direct and impartial. Speak firmly and answer for criticism. In the end, you say it because you think a person can do better. And this is the best compliment of all.
5. Make sure you’re getting it right.
You advocate the creation of a permanent feedback loop and try to ensure that it produces the desired result. To do this, you need to make sure that your message is understood correctly. People feel vulnerable to criticism and this can lead to self-protection and misinterpretation.
Ask your employees to explain how they understood what they heard, and then always send an explanation by email or you can create a feedback form to make things simple for them.
6. Diversify the team like a portfolio of shares.
As a manager, you have to exist in several times realities. Your task is to keep your hand on the pulse of short-term tasks, but also to plan for the long term. Manage your team like a portfolio: one third is working on projects that take up to several weeks, another group is working on medium-term projects, and a third takes the first steps to implement ideas that will only work years later.
7. Don’t take too long.
Many new managers believe that they should support specific team members to succeed. This is not the case. Your job is to help the whole team achieve great results. If you spend a significant part of your week (30% to 50%) supporting people who are not doing something, you will miss a bigger problem. “If you do not believe that someone can succeed in their current position, the best thing you can do is, to be honest, and help the person move on. When you decide to fire someone, do it directly and with respect. Don’t let your decision be questioned and don’t consider it a failure in your report.
8. If you don’t understand the purpose of the meeting, cancel it.
Remember those meetings that you and everyone around you were afraid of? Now that you’re the leader, they’re your initiative. You must make sure the meeting has a purpose whether it is to make a decision, share information (not one that could be emailed), provide feedback, generate ideas, or strengthen relationships. If you understand the purpose, you can prepare properly, make sure the right people are invited, and, if necessary, order pizza to build the relationship.
9. Delegate to show trust.
Letting people solve big problems is a sign of trust. Beginner managers crave control. They want to prove that they’re handling new responsibilities. And they often become micromanagers, terrorizing subordinates because they try to anticipate, solve, and manage every situation. Don’t just give your employees room to maneuver, trust them. Your goal is to delegate until all work is done without your involvement. You must prepare a long bench for the next generation of managers so that when you take another step up the career ladder, someone will be ready to take your place.
Wishing you best of luck for the most valuable status.